(Bogota, Villa de Leyva, Medellin, Cartagena)
Deep beneath the streets of Zipaquira lies a marvel of engineering and artistic achievement so great that you’ll be left speechless at the ingenuity of the human spirit.
Here in the underground salt mines of Columbia lies a subterranean cathedral that will surprise and inspire you with its eerie beauty. Above ground, you’ll find modern-day Colombia every part as striking as you discover the heart and soul of reborn Bogotá and come to understand its history reflected in its refined colonial and republican architecture. Tour historic Villa de Leyva on foot and take some time to appreciate its vast plaza, beautiful historic buildings, and the Monasteries de las Carmelitas Descalzas. Learn about the dark days of the drug cartels that once controlled Medellin and witness the vibrant rebirth of the modern-day city; tour the famous sculpture park that features the work of Fernado Botero; and sip rich Colombian coffee with the welcoming locals in the ancient square at Cartagena.
Modern-day Colombia has left behind its difficult past and there’s a pulse of optimism and enthusiasm that runs through the country. Your team of experienced English-speaking guides and private drivers will help you see it in your interactions with passionate locals as they proudly share with you the rich history, culture and joy of this vibrant country. You’ll also experience it in the warm hospitality at the premium hotels that span your stay.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
In order to confirm your trip you must submit copies of your passports for Colombia bookings.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Enjoy a private airport transfer with professional driver and guide.
The Abadia Colonial is well positioned in the old sector of Bogota; La Candalaria. With its twelve rooms all located around one of three colonial style patios; it is a small oasis away from the hustle and bustle of down town Bogota. There is a coffee shop inside the building and the rooms are simply decorated, and very well presented. This is a perfect option for anyone looking for a hotel with a personal homely feel.
You will be picked up from your hotel by private vehicle and will be transferred to La Candelaria. Upon arrival, you will commence your walking tour with your private guide through the streets of La Candelaria Bogota. La Candelaria is Bogota’s heart and soul, from its humble beginnings this is the oldest part of the city and the Plaza Bolivar or Main Square are high on any visitor’s agenda. The Bolivar Square (La Plaza de Bolivar) is the focal point of this historic part of the city. Surrounding the square are several important Colonial and Republican style buildings including the Palace of Justice and Colombian Congress, they embrace the square infusing it with history and tales of old. The Plaza is also home to the Mayor’s office and the Primary Cathedral of Bogota that dominates an entire corner. Standing proud in the plazas centre is a statue of Simon Bolivar (The founder of Colombian independence) this was the first public monument to be erected in the city.
As you wander the streets of La Candelaria away from the main square and exploring other parts of this historic hub, your guide will not only explain the history of Bogota but also the intricacies of current Colombian culture and daily life. In order to understand Colombia you need to understand the history of its capital, your tour of the historic part of Bogota will lay the foundations for the rest of your trip helping you to understand how this complex and fascinating county ticks.
In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to relax.
You will be met at your hotel by your driver and Bilingual guide and taken directly to Zipaquira for a tour of the village & the Salt Cathedral, a journey of about approximately 2 hours. For some this is a religious monument, others a celebration of engineering or maybe even an artistic masterpiece. One of the marvels of Colombia, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is well worth the visit. For the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its earth and the hidden jewel beneath the earth’s surface, Zipaquira is somewhat of a must during a stay in Bogotá. Travelling north of the city, through countryside once occupied by the native Muisca Indians, Zipaquira is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Colombia. Zipaquira is most famous for its Cathedral carved underground in a still functioning salt mines just west of the town.
The subtle lighting pronounces the fourteen Stations of the Cross as you descend in to the mine, each station sculpted by a different artist. At the deepest point of the cathedral, 180 m below the earth’s surface, you encounter the nave and the north and south aisles dominated by the 16m high central cross. The illumination and execution of the work is a tribute to modern techniques and years of work from the miners and artists. Your guide will explain all about the cathedrals construction and how it and the mine still function in harmony. However you view this construction, you can’t fail to be impressed by its size and grandeur. Around the central square of the town of Zipaquira the colonial buildings still hold their charm footed by brickwork paving and overlooked by the Cathedral Diocesana de San Antonio.
The next stop on the road is the village of Raquira which in the indigenous Chibcha language means “The city of pots" and it certainly is the place to buy earthenware. In just few blocks you will find almost all the handicrafts you will possibly want for yourself or to take home. You may even get the chance to see one of the many potters at work at his wheel forming and trimming until a perfect example of Raquira workmanship is complete. Raquira is not only famous for its earthenware but its houses, in stark contrast to its neighbour of Villa de Leyva with its uniform white house’s Raquira is an explosion of colour and decoration. Raquira makes a great stop of on the way back to Bogota. From Raquira to Villa de Leyva takes about 30 minutes by car.
After your tour you will continue North on to the village of Villa de Leyva, an additional journey of about 3 hours arriving approximately early evening.
Located just a few blocks from the principal plaza in Villa de Leyva, this hotel nestled in one corner of a smaller plaza combines a exquisite hotel experience and art all in one. The reception area doubles as a small art gallery displaying paintings from local artists. Other works of art will be found as you explore the hotel. The building itself is an old colonial house with a large central courtyard with the rooms encompassing the courtyard. This historical building fits in perfectly with the cobbled streets and old world charm of Villa de Leyva but with the art twist and a touch of luxury. This hotel is one of the more stylish hotels in Villa de Leyva.
Half day walking tour of the historic centre of Villa de Leyva. Witness its enormous plaza (one of the largest in South America), along with interesting historical building such as the house of Antonio Nariño, and the Monasteries de las Carmelitas Descalzas. Modern construction is scarce amongst the colonial Spanish whitewashed walls that line the cobbled streets, and terracotta tiles that shade cascading flowers hanging over painted green balconies. The town's main square is one of the largest cobbled stone plazas in all South America and plays host to numerous events and exhibitions such as the festival of kites and the spectacular festival of lights when the sky is illuminated by a thousand fireworks
Lunch at leisure (not included in tour price).
Private transfer from Villa de Leyva to El Dorado Airport in Bogota.
Domestic flight between Bogota and Medellin. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
Includes airport transfer with private vehicle, professional driver and local guide- City or vice versa
Conceived with an English design, Hotel Park 10 combines wood in its architecture, giving a touch of luxury to all its facilities. Hotel Park 10 offers 55 luxurious suites in three categories: Luxurious Rooms, Junior Suites and Grand Suites. All rooms have ideal comfort and featuring high-speed internet, remote control air conditioning, several telephone lines with voice mail, digital safe and cable TV.
Begin your Medellin city tour with private vehicle and English speaking guide. Medellin is certainly a city with a history. From the valiant founding fathers trekking across the Andes, to the dark days of the drug cartels, to its rebirth as one of South America's most vibrant cities. This tour of the central part of Medellin can really help to bring the city to life and to help you understand why Medellin is so important to Colombia in terms of both commerce and culture. Take in all the principal sites including the "Parque Berrio", the famous Botero sculpture park where many works of Colombia's most famous artist, and Medellin born sculptor, Fernando Botero are exhibited. A ride on the city's famous cable car will not only provide great views of Medellin but will be a chance to understand a bit more about the geography and social make up of Colombia's second largest city. Other highlights of this tour include Botanical Garden and San Pedro Cemetery.
Domestic flight between Medellin and Cartagena. The flight duration is approximately 1.5 hours.
Includes airport transfer with private vehicle, professional driver and local guide from Airport to Hotel or within city and vice versa
You will be met at your hotel by your Bilingual guide to commence your walking tour through the streets of Cartagena. Your tour will take through the old town under the Puerta Del Reloj (Clock tower entrance), a symbol of Cartagena, into the Plaza de los Coches. Your guide will divulge the myths and legends, histories and stories of Cartagena from ancient times right up to the present. No visit to Bogota is complete without a visit to the amazing Gold Museum to the Plaza San Pedro Claver with its stunning Church, on through to the Plaza Bolivar; with its shady areas, where a fresh Lemon juice can be enjoyed whilst watching the world go by. Cartagena is steeped in history and a delight to stroll the streets with your own personal encyclopaedia of knowledge guiding you from one interest to the other.
Alfiz Boutique Hotel is located in Cartagena´s historical Old Town, only a short walk to most of the city's attractions. Alfiz hotel offers eight stylish suites in the elegant ambiance of a restored XVII’s heritage building. Whether you are visiting the city on business or travelling for pleasure, this beautifully restored residence provides a warm welcome.This hotel is part of the collection of the “Cartagena Boutique Hotels”, the group of outstanding properties chosen for their intimate size, personalized service and attractive surroundings. Since the 17th century, the hotel has sheltered secrets, anecdotes and adventures. After three centuries, it continues to make history.
Sleep in this morning and relax at your hotel.
Enjoy a day of leisure at the nearby beaches. Cartagena is nearly surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Small, coral stone protected beaches can be found only a few meters outside of the ancient Walled City.
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and wanted to tell you we had the time of our lives! Everything turned out perfectly. Guides were fun, on time and informative. The excursions were great for an active family and, of course, amazing.
I can't tell you what was our favorite. The boys enjoyed exploring the mountains in El Chalten (they called it Mountain running) while Mohan and I relaxed in the beautiful hotel. I thought after the glacier trek it can't get any better - but it kept surprising me and amazing me. My personal favorite was the horseback riding. I thought afterwards after everything we have seen the bike tour would have to be a let down - NOPE - it also was so exciting and our guide was a hoot! We had great weather for each activity (I know there is a bit of luck involved with that one).
Meals were amazing and after so many active excursions no guilt in pigging out.
I am so happy we took a little risk and went out of the way with our vacation this year. We will have this with us for a life time.
Thank you again,
Laura, Mohan, Ryan, and Nathan
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
Happy New Year!
GREAT trip! The brochure you sent to us the week before we set off was marvelous -- the pages are marked and worn with us referring to it so often! We were very pleased with every aspect that you set up for us including the airport pick-up and drop off and the tour of Quito and environs on Friday. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. The transfer to the Eclipse team was super easy and the flight to Guayaquil and trip to the boat went off without a hitch.
We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took, but I promise to send a few to you in the next week or so. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands. Gave them a 10 on their feedback form and would recommend Eclipse very highly.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
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